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  --  POLITICAL WRITINGS.   Table of Contents     Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent.

Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany

- The International Policy of the World Towards the African Race.

The International Policy of the World Towards the African Race.

One of the highest pretensions set up in favor of the enslavement of the African race is its inferiority. If the Britons, Caledonians, Hibernians, and others of the Celtic as well as Teuton and pure Caucasian races had never been enslaved; if Caractacus, the king and proudest prince the British ever had up to that period, had not been led in chains, and sold by order of Julius Caesar, with many other British slaves, in the public market, of Rome; if the British nobles, long years ago, had not written of their own peasantry, that they were incapable of elevation; if they had not recorded and passed enactments against the Scotch and Irish, that they were innately inferior, and totally insusceptible of instruction and civilizations, calling them "heathen dogs, only fit for slaves of the lowest order;" if a general system of serfdom, known as the feudal System, had not existed generally among the white races for ages through all Europe, before a black slave was ever known among the whites; if the whites had not been held in slavery many centuries longer than were the blacks; and finally, if Russia had not, just within the last three years (1864), emancipated her forty-two millions of

slaves, --ten times more than the African slaves in the United States, allowing four millions to the South, -- then there would be some semblance of honesty and sincerity in the continued plea of justice for ages of wrong and crime against an unoffending, helpless people.

Through all times white slavery had existed among the nations of Europe, and as civilization advanced, and the lower classes became more elevated, the difficulty became more apparent in perpetuating the system. What to do, and how to remedy the evil, was a question of paramount importance. To suppress the approach of civilization, and keep down the rising aspirations of the common people, could not be well determined. The genius of social and political economy were put to the test to divine the desired end to be attained. Legislative and royal decrees could not reach it; the march of man and the light of intellect kept in advance of legal injunctions.

In 624--twelve hundred and forty-three years ago, and twelve hundred and thirty-nine before the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln -- the Saracens of Arabs gained access to Africa, controlling the commerce for seven hundred and fifty-eight years, being the only foreigners accessible to, and holding a friendly intercourse with, the people.

In the year 1487, Bartholomew of Diaz, of Portugal, discovered the Cape of Good Hope, calling it Cabo del Tormentoso -- the Cape of Storms." On reporting to his sovereign the discovery, with all of its prospects, the king cried out, "No" let us not call it Cabo del Tormentoso,' but rather let us call? it Cabo del Buen Speremza -- the Cape of Good Hope!" And it was a good hope to Portugal, because it must be remembered that access to Africa, by communication with the western coast, was then to Europeans unknown; the only intercourse being from the north by the Barbary States, and through the interior by caravans, all of which purported to reach the eastern part of the continent by that way.

The year 1482 was an eventful period to the African race, and I here record, for the first time probably in which it has ever been given to the world (except the authority herein quoted), the startling facts that the enslavement of the African race was the

result of a determination on the part of at least four, and probably more, of the strongest, the most enlightened and polished nations at the time, to make the African race supplant, by substituting it for European slavery. These nations were, Spain, England, France, and Portugal.

And I should not feel, whatever I may have effectually done, that my work had been more than half completed, did I not, as a wronged and outraged son of Africa, give to the world this crowning act of infamy against a people, the facts of which have ever been closely concealed, and even denied, while thousands of the world's good people have no knowledge that such facts ever transpired.

The demands for ameliorating the condition of the whites pressed heavily in all parts of Europe, as the elevated wealthy noble could not longer bear to see the ignorant poor of his king men degraded. To longer deny them the right of elevation, was to disparage the genius, and degrade the whole Caucasian race. To remedy this, a race must be chosen foreign to their own, and as different as possible in external characteristics. For this dreadful purpose the African was selected as the victim of an international conspiracy. A political conspiracy of malice aforethought, prompted by avarice and the love of lucre. During the memorable events that thrilled with emotion the communities of every country in 1862, in the midst of our national struggle, the Rev. Felix, Archbishop of Orleans, France, in a pastoral, sent forth to exhort the people of France and the French Catholics of the United States to support the position taken by President Lincoln, in pronouncing his malediction against the cause of the South, said, "It is the teaching of experience that the slavery of the day -- the slavery of the blacks -- has an origin and a consequence equally detestable. Its origin was the Treaty , the ignoble and cruel bargain, condemned by Plus II. in 1482, by Plus III. in 1557, by Urba VIII. in 1839, by Benedict XIV. in 1741, by Gregory XVI. in 1839." His revelation should startle Christendom, and none would question the historical accuracy of the facts in the case, when coming from such a trustworthy source as the reverend and honored Archbishop of Orleans.

Objections were many and serious on the part of the common

classes to the introduction of this new people as a domestic element into European countries. But notwithstanding this, there would, doubtless, have been many sent, if a timely relief had not been afforded by the discovery of America in 1492. So lucrative became this traffic in a foreign people, running through many years, and engrossed by the most elevated, as elsewhere referred to, that in 1618, James I. made it the basis of the revenue, if not the wealth of England. The people of the New World -- Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch -- made this race their "hope and expectation."

Whole fleets of merchantmen, from every nation in Europe, environed Africa, to subjugated her people. Powerful naval forces were also brought against her, and national representatives, in the persons of their emissaries, prowled along and about her entire coast, sowing the seeds of discord, and a baser corruption among those of the already corrupted natives, inciting them to war, and the devastation of their homes.

Every vestige of civilization was driven from the coast, the interior placed under fearful apprehensions, the entire social system deranged, the progress of improvement suspended, and permanent establishments abandoned. With the entire white world against her, is it not clear why Africa, in the last twelve centuries, has not kept pace with the civilization of the age? Certainly it is. But there are those who still affect to doubt the former civilization of Africa, and dispute that race as the authors of her ancient arts and sciences. Why dispute it? If the African race were not the authors, what race were? Why are not the same arts and sciences found in same other portion of the globe than Africa? Why confined to this quarter of the world? The identity of one people with another has its strongest evidence in the characteristics, habits, manners, customs, especially in moral and religious sentiments, peculiar to themselves, even after all traces by language are lost.

It is simply ridiculous for ethnologists to claim the few Bebers who are found in and about Egypt, as the remnants of the ancient Africans, and erectors of the mighty pyramids, and authors of the hieroglyphics. The present Bebers of Egypt are none other than mixed bloods of the ancient Egyptians who once inhabited

it,-- who were pure blacks, -- and Saracens who had conquered the country by conquest B.C. 146, and without any prestige, except that inherited from the Ishmaelitish or Arab side of their ancestry -- avarice and treachery. I mean not to be unkind in stating this, but simply to paint facts in a strong light.

Certainly the general character of this (the Arabian) race of men has been known through all times. And although they had given the world in literature the nine numbers in arithmetic, a choreography, and a religion which necessarily has some beautiful philosophy, yet there is little comparison in any of these to the literature of ancient Africa. I believe it is not pretended that the Arabians have any peculiar order of architecture; and I hope not to be regarded uncharitable if I suspect the cunning Arab, instead of originating, as having stolen the nine numerals of our common arithmetic from the Alexandrian Museum, destroyed by them in the memorable conflagration. It was clever in them to do so, and keep it to themselves; and I shall not raise the voice of envy against them.

The most striking character of the ancient Africans was their purity of morals and religion. Their high conception and reverence of Deity was manifested and acknowledged in everything they did. They are known in history as having been the most scrupulous of all races, and conscientious in their dealings. In this I have reference to the Ethiopians, of whom the inhabitants of Egypt were lineal descendants by colonization or emigration down the valley of the Nile, and settlement in the territory at its mouths; being identical in all their characteristics of a "black skin and woolly hair," even as described as late as the time of Herodotus, " the father of history," the learned Grecian philosopher who travelled and resided among them during twenty-five years.

A people or race possessing in a high degree the great principles of pure ethics and true religion, a just conception of God, necessarily inherit the essential principles of the highest civilization. And is it not a known and conceded fact by all who are at all conversant with the true character of the African, that he excels all other races in religious sentiments, and adaptation to domestic usages, wherever found? In this I will not

even except the Caucasian race, because those characteristics in the African are in such striking contrast to the same in the Caucasian, that they are regarded by him as exaggerations and extravagances. Indeed such is the susceptibility and adaptation of the African to the civilization of the times and places in which he may be found, that the Caucasian, instead of looking upon it in approved comparison with that which he admires in his own race, has, by usage of a policy, became accustomed to undervalue it as a mere "imitation." Can imitation give intellectual ability for acquirements? If it enables a parrot or split tongued crow to gabble words by imitation of sound without any conception of meaning; if it enables a monkey or an orang-outang to "come down from a tree and tie gloves on others' hands, to go back leaving it unable either to loosen the strings, or climb the tree to escape the artful huntsman, in imitation of what he did to insure it; or "thrusting a hand into a jug of figs, grabbing it full," and thus holding on to the figs, screams, endeavoring to take the hand out full, until caught, not having intellect to let go the figs; does it make him capable of high intellectual attainment, such as languages, chirography, arithmetic, philosophy, mathematics, the sciences of war, music, painting, sculpture, political science, and polite literature?

Let the traducers of the African race, those who affect to believe that his faculties consist in mere "imitation," answer this inquiry. Even in the Southern States, terribly crushed and shattered as has been for centuries the true African character, these lurking faculties for the higher attainments rising superior to the fetters which bound the body of the possessor, would occasionally burst forth like the sudden illumination of a brilliant meteor, starling the midnight gazer while all was enshrined in darkness around. Whether in the person of the distinguished orator and advocate of his race, Frederick Douglas of Maryland, or an Ellis, the negro blacksmith linguist, or George Medison Washington of Virginia, or Blind Tom of Alabama, the musician and pianist, now surprising the world, Elizabeth Greenfield of Mississippi, the celebrated "Black Susan, -- all slaves when developed, -- these great truths of African susceptibility are incontrovertible. With one more

point this treatise shall have ended. But subsequent to its completion, and very recently, a high functionary, at the head of one the greatest nations of modern times, in an elaborate argument on the subject, having seen fit to make it history, by recording, as part of an official document, the following declaration, I deem it as treacherous to the African race, to which I wholly belong, if I did not place as permanently on record an equally bold and defiant declarations -- a proof to the contrary. Says this sage and statesman.--

"The peculiar qualities which should characterize any people who are fit to decide upon the management of public affairs for a great state have seldom been combined. It is the glory of white men to know that they have had these qualities in sufficient measure to build upon this continent a great political fabric, and to preserve its stability for more than ninety years, while in every other part of the world all similar experiments have failed. But if anything can be proved by known facts, if all reasoning upon evidence is not abandoned, it must be acknowledged that, in the progress of nations, Negroes have shown less capacity for government than any other race of people. No independent government of any form has ever been successful is their hands. On the contrary, whenever they have been left to their own devices, they have shown a constant tendency to relapse into barbarism." Instead of the assertion, that in the progress of the nations the negro has showiness capacity for government than any other race of people, that no independent government of any form has ever been successful in their hands. I shall commend a reply to this predicate, by the proposition that the negroes were foremost in the progress of time; first who developed the highest type of civilization. National civil government and the philosophy of religion were borrowed by the white races from the negro. And if the learned jurist will go back to school-boy days, he will remember what time has evidently caused him to forget.

In the days of Egyptian greatness one dynasty existed, evidently, for more than one thousand years. This is known to Holy Writ as the government of the Pharaohs. During the reign

of these princes, the sovereigns repeatedly were chosen from Egyptian and Ethiopian families. By Ethiopian families, is meant the going out of the kingdom of Ethiopia to select from a royal family the ruler, just as Great Britain goes into Germany to select from a family a sovereign for the throne.

Among these mighty princes were Menes, or Misraim, Sesosstris, Osiris, and the Rameses, the last of which was the dynasty name numerically recorded I., II., III., and so on. Rameses I., the greatest of the princes, was the god-man, and none other than Jupiter-Ammon. In him was the beautiful and symbolic idea of the attributes of Deity, --the Christian's Godest, -- first developed. The person of the Deity, Rameses I., was represented as a human being of robust proportions, having a "bushy, woolly head, with ram's horns." His position, seated on a throne of gold and ivory, ivory base and golden floor; in his left hand a sceptre, the right grasping a thunderbolt. At his side was the Phoenix, in its well-known attitude. This last symbolic attribute is some times, indeed generally, spoken of by writers as an "eagle with extended wings," which is evidently an error, from all the facts connected with the god Jupiter, and Rameses II., his successor; besides, the eagle was not an ideal, symbolic bird of religion in Africa. It is suggestive of combat and carnality instead of purity, the successor being styled by the ever-devoted Africans, "Rameses the Ever-living, Always-living Rameses --his name occurring twice in the salutation.

Here, in this ideal symbol of a God, was also the identity of man; ivory representing durability, gold, purity, the sceptre, authority, and the thunderbolt, power: the ram's head, innocence, decision, and caution against too near approach. In a word, none must presume to attempt to speak face to face with the Deity, as death would be the result; as it is a well-known characteristic of a ram, while innocent as a sheep, he will instantly attack any head, man's or beast's, that approaches his.

Another beautiful symbolic attribute of Jupiter-Ammon, -- Rameses I.,-- which afterwards personified Rameses II., was the Phoenix. This bird, like many ancient images, was allegorical or ideal. It was described as similar to an eagle, larger, and

beautiful; with breast, wings, and tail of a brilliant gold tint; a crown of solid gold crest capped its head, the rest of the body covered with green. It never flew, but always walked with stately step and dignity. There was but one known to have an existence, and the beginning was never known. It produced no young, but was itself from the beginning a full-grown bird. It lived, and lived, and lived on, from generation to generation, through ages and periods, and periods and ages, till, seeming weary of life, it built a nest of fagots a and brush picked up, which was long constructing; sat upon it when finished, laid a golden egg in time; the egg ignited the nest into a burning mass; the bird continuing to sit, threw up its wings and head in great excitement, and was consumed in the flames; when in the ashes was left a ball, out of the ball came forth a worm, from this worm instantly sprang another Phoenix, which lived on like the first, to transfigurate or reproduce itself again in time.

There were still other symbolic representatives of Deity among them, Rameses II. being also called Apis, and represented as an ox or a bull; while Rameses III. was called Osiris, and represented as a dog -- the ox or bull, as the attribute of patience, endurance, and strength; the dog, as faithfulness and watchfulness.

Is it not clear that much of the philosophy of our theology was borrowed from their mythology? Whence the "great white throne" upon which God sits; the "golden pavement," the" "thunders" of his wrath, "Behold the Lamb of God," "Our God is a consuming fire," "No man can look upon God and live," "A self-creating God," with numerous kindred quotations which might be made from the Scriptures?

The Africans, as is well known, were great herdsmen; a great of part of their wealth and available currency consisting in their live stock; every family. however limited their circumstances, having a flock of sheep or goats, and both more or less; this running through to the present day, where, in recent travels on that continent, the writer met, in the first large city, a dairyman, who, every morning, milked eighty cows, and farther in the interior, towards Soudan, the dairy which supplied him every morning milked two hundred cows. And among the higher families, as nobles, chiefs, and princes, from five to ten thousand

head, the property of one person or family, is commonly met with. Dr. Livingstone speaks of meeting with kings, even in that least civilized interior region of his explorations, who possessed as many as forty thousand cattle. These herds are watched by faithful attendants, --men when large, or women when small, with the indispensable shepherd dog, which is generally black. In speaking of the riches of Job, the man of Us, the Scriptures tell us that his cattle were on a "thousand hills." Can it not be conceived that the God who was thus bountiful in bestowing such wealth might be symboled by the property itself and the means of its protection? Hence Jupiter Ammon or Rameses I., as a ram or sheep; Sesostris, or Rameses II., as a bull or ox--Apis; Osiris or Rameses III. as dog or jackal.

There was also another beautiful symbolic personification in this -- three persons in one. For it is a striking and remarkable fact, as must be noticed by all antiquarians, that these three persons inseparably appear, both by inscription and in statuary -- Rameses, Sesostris, Osiris -- sheep, ox, dog. Here are innocence, patience, faith, and charity or love, as none so loving as a dog. And how typical of the true African character!

It was shown that the authors of this beautiful and pure religious doctrine were black. This will not be disputed, when it is remembered that Moses took one of the daughters of Jethro, prince and priest of Midian, to wife, and the Scriptures inform us that she was an "Ethiopian woman;" Aaron and Miriam, the brother and sister of Moses, entering into strife with him about it. Not, as it is concluded by modern civilization, because she was black, but because she was identical with their oppressors and recent masters the objection was made.

It is very evident that the highest conception of the Jewish religion is that which was borrowed from Africa during the Israelitish bondage in Egypt, transmitted through them to the present, and developed in the metaphysical theology of the age.

And it will not do to call this "mummery," since later, in June, 1867, the President of the United States took part in the consecration of a hall, erected in part to the perpetuation of this African symbolic philosophy and religion.


The capital city of this great people in Africa was Thebais, commonly called Thebais, supposed to contain two millions of inhabitants, surrounded by a wall with one hundred gates, twenty-five at each point of the compass. On the occasion of his Asiatic conquest, Sesostris, or Rameses II., went out of the city with ten thousand infantry and two hundred chariots, with charioteers armed for war, from each gate at one time, having an aggregate of one million two hundred thousand warriors. The conquest of this proud and mighty prince was carried to the banks of the River Indus, conquering every nation as he passed; where he set his memorable pillars, with the peculiar inscription, "Sesostris, the king of kings, has conquered the world to the banks of the Indus;" when he evacuated the country, and returned to his own, having vindicated the prestige and dignity of his name.

Who were the builders of the everlasting pyramids, catacombs, and sculptors of the sphinxes? Were they Europeans or Caucasians, Asiastics or Mongoliane? Will it be at once conceded that the authors of the symbolic mythology and hieroglyphic science are identical? Upon this point there is but one opinion. The inventors or authors of the one were the builders or architects of the other.

Among what race of men, and what country of the globe, do we find traces of these singular productions, but the African and Africa? None whatever. It is in Africa the pyramids, sphinxes, and catacombs are found; here the hieroglyphics still remain. Among the living Africans traces of their beautiful philosophy and symbolic mythology still exist. In the interior their architecture and hieroglyphics are still the subjects of their art. Through all time the arts of a people have been among the clearest evidences of identity.

Asia has her several peculiar orders of architecture, the Chinese and Japan being identical; that among the Hindoos the type of the others. Europe has her Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite, with Gothic, and other modifications of modern orders.

If the originators and builders of the pyramids and sphinxes had been Asiatics, is it not certain that the same architecture

would have been found in Asia? of Europeans, in Europe? There is nothing more children than it would; and the entire absence of all traces of the purely African architecture, arts, and symbolic religion and mythology among other races and in other countries than the Africans and Africa, makes its simply preposterous for the white race to claim these as productions of their own.

Would the Asiatic or the European, who had erected the architectural monuments in Africa, have lost their acts? Would they not have originated another as they returned to their original homes? Do the fixed, especially original, arts of a people leave them simply by a change of countries? Certainly not; as among the greatest advantages to be gained by emigration is the arts that are taken by the people to a country. And had the architectures of Africa been an importation, originated by or among any other people than themselves, is it not one of the most striking known to history by ages of experience, that it would have been found in some other country among the descendants of the originators and authors, and not been found in Africa alone, and peculiar to the African race? Were they Persians who had succeeded by conquest in African? Were they Greeks under Alexander? Were they Greeks and Romans who made their advent into Egypt with Antony? or those who fled in dismay under Pompey, after the famous defeat of Pharsalia? or Jews under tetrarch governments? Certainly not; as all of them, from the Persian to the Jewish advent, found these arts and science there. And is it not known to history that Egypt was the "cradle of the earliest civilization,"propagating the arts and science, when the Grecians were an uncivilized people, covering their persons with skins and clothing, anterior to the existence of the she-wolf with Romulus the founder of Rome?

On the invasion of the Saracens, A.C. 146 years, the African library, known as the "Alexandrian Museum," was known to contain in manuscript seven hundred thousand volumes. The secretiveness of the Africans was a matter of history for ages known to the world, their arts and sciences being held as sacred, and propagated with the greatest caution. The kings and priests

were the first recipients; the nobles and gentlemen the other. All Egypt and Ethiopia regarded this library as the "hope and expectation" of their countries.

The value of the collection will be estimated by remembrance of its age and manner of obtaining, printing then being unknown to the world. The age of the library, from its first collections, was coequal with the first dawn of science among them.

And had this immense fountain of knowledge been transmitted to posterity, the African would have had a history and a name. And I repeat, with emphasis, that the loss of the African library was a catastrophe unequaled in the age of the world, as bearing on the destiny of a people and a race.

But the "Museum" was made the centre of attraction; the Saracen invaders surrounded the stupendous edifice; orders were given that not a relic be preserved; the flambeau was the weapon of attack; assault and fire was the command,--when the accumulated literature, art the science, of four thousand years' collection, sent fire and smoke towards the heavens, more destructive in its consequences than the world had ever before witnessed! The African library, the depository of the earliest germs of social, civil, political, and national progress, the concentrated wisdom of ages, stood in flames! Fourteen days burning, the building in ruins, and the light of science and civilization, for generations, was extinguished, and Africa became a prey to avarice, imposture, and oppression!

So enlightened, polished, and human were this race, that after the birth of Jesus, subsequent to the downfall of Egypt by the Saracens, the "warning of the Lord to Joseph" was to take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until they are all dead who seek the child's life. Nor can it be denied that the African race were that which the "Spirit of the Lord" meant, because, notwithstanding Saracen subjugation in Egypt, the African policy, civilization, and humanity still prevailed. Besides, it is a historically known fact that Greeks and Jews were with the Romans in government and sentiments against this Messiah, the promised king of the Jews; all conspiring for his deposition in the event of his coming. It will

also be remembered that after the crucifixion and ascension, that Africa was the only country which held prestige enough to send a national representative to "Jerusalem to worship" under the Christian doctrine, as propagated by the scattered and the authority, and chief apostles; the Ethiopian eunuch, a man of great authority and chief lord of her majesty, Queen Candace's royal treasury.

One word more, and I close a review already too elaborate; but driven by necessity to the defence of my race, duty compelled me to the point where I cease. Would any other race than the African, in the symbolical statues of the sphinxes, have placed the great head of a negro woman on the majestic body of a lion, as an ideal representation of their genius?

If it be the "glory of the white race to know that they have had these qualifications in sufficient measure to build upon this continent a great political fabric," it is also the glory of the black race to know that they have had these qualities in sufficient measure to build a great political fabric long before the whites, imparting to them the first germs of civilization, and enlightening the world by their wisdom. And the most momentous, extraordinary international conspiracy against the African race, which this memento commenced to expose, has never been by convention annulled nor abrogated, and, therefore, still stands optional with either party to continue or withdraw; it is fondly and confidently hoped will not be encouraged not induced to continue by an equally extraordinary, if not momentous, official denunciation against that race, from the executive of one of the most powerful nations existing on this globe.

And in behalf of my race, once proud, polished, and elevated, -- at the feet of whose philosophers the learned and eminent of the world sought wisdom, as did "Herodotus, the father of history," and others,-- may I fondly hope that another generation will not pass away till Africa, in and by her own legitimate children, gives evidence of a national regeneration, breathing forth with fervid and holy aspirations in the religious sentiments of her native heart and beautiful words of one of her own native languages: Bi-Olorum Pellu -- "the Lord has been merciful to us."


And in behalf of my emancipated brethren in America, may the blessings of that God, whose signal promise must and will be fulfilled, despite political official anathema, rest upon the devoted head and in the holy heart of the most eminent prelate, Father Felix, Archbishop or Orleans in France.

  --  POLITICAL WRITINGS.   Table of Contents     Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent.